Tuesday, June 30, 2009

i love camp food ... at family camp! - Pastor Mike Roberts

This week I don't have to plan, prepare or clean up after a meal - what a blessing! But the blessing of eating is greater than that, and at camp I've had opportunity to think on this as well.

The Apostle Paul said, "whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God." Every meal is a demonstration of the glory of God and his grace. We come hungry (a real need) and our need is graciously met. Three times a day I am reminded that God lovingly supplies all that I need, and I get to share this with my immediate family and the family of God - what a blessing!

Thank you God for camp food, for your grace, for your glory on display in all things!

Pastor Mike Roberts
Temple Baptist Church - Fircrest WA
Camp Gilead Family Camp Pastor

Monday, June 29, 2009

Finish line...or starting line? from Megan Franklin

When I think about victory, I often think about ending, accomplishing or being done with something. We here at Camp Gilead though, have just begun.

I would not call myself a good writer, but taking our theme... In the Beginning ... and playing on words, I wanted to share how exciting it has been to watch the start of the summer ministry. This last week we had about 140 4th - 6th graders step onto the camp. As a staff, we were so eager to begin building relationships through community and creation by slip n sliding, singing, swimming, hiking, learning, sharing, eating, playing, sleeping and simply enjoying the atmosphere of summer camp.

By the end of the week were were sitting around the campfire hearing the reflections of campers.

Some campers were so excited about all they had learned about Creation in the Jonathan Park skit, others were excited about decisions they had made for the Lord, and others were just so glad there was a Camp Gilead.

It was a time of sharing New Beginnings. Whether it was a new relationship, a new favorite activity, or a new bit of truth about God, His Word, and His Work. I am excited to already see His goodness and grace in the lives of the staff and campers, and I pray that God will continue to bless and use us for this purpose from beginning to end.

Megan Franklin
Camp Gilead High School Staff Leader

Saturday, June 27, 2009

ashes and embers - from Jim Saunders, Jr Camp Pastor

Camp ministry is alive and effective! Not much, but faint embers visibly remain from tonight’s camp fire. Victory Circle outside our cabin is once again quiet with the campers now back in their cabins. Suddenly the quiet is interrupted by the croaking choir down by the pond and just as suddenly, they break for intermission. I reach for a Pepsi to wash down what remains from a Starbucks run earlier. Not wise for a man my age at this time of night; until I remember Cabin 17 thinks I am 32 years old. Their reward in heaven will be great, but still behind Cabin 3 who guessed my wife Kim to be age 20 something.

I feel drained of energy but my mind still continues to race and reflect. I could have included a visual illustration of the point I was trying to make, or maybe I should have been clearer or more detailed in the various applications, or….but it is what it is. As I listened to the testimonies, God has spoken and moved in campers’ lives in spite of me, and yet has wonderfully included me in the process. I feel happy but even more humbled. Several camp fire comments centered on unplanned illustrations that came back to me in the moment of speaking. I know what God did! I am so grateful that God showed up and am reminded that He alone deserves the glory.

It is what it is, but what will it be? Where does God want to take each of these campers, staff or me in the days ahead…and will we obediently follow Jesus? The embers may be nearly just ashes, but may the fire of God continue to burn hot and bright in each of us.

Pastor Jim Saunders
First Baptist Church - Connell WA
Junior Camp #1 Pastor

Friday, June 26, 2009

Friday night sights and sounds

the crackling fire
flying sparks
Milt Herd adding wood
the sounds of several guitars tuning
campers laughing
campers talking
campers reflecting
a cool breeze through the trees
the flash of a camera
campers singing
the lights of glowstick necklaces and bracelets around campers necks and bodies
the innocent sweetness of a camper sharing that he or she accepted Jesus as their Savior
campers thanking counselors
"I learned that ... "
Lives changed...forever.

These are the sights and sounds of the Victory Circle.

Kimberly Mallory
Camp Gilead Program Director

Thursday, June 25, 2009

the view from the keyboard...

brr...it's cold out tonight! Welcome back to the fire here at the Victory Circle!

Camp life the last few days has been exciting and filled with activities, energy and memories!

We went on a huge slip n slide yesterday, hiked up river a bit to a clearing and had a picnic lunch under the trees, learned about dinosaurs and Creation, sang lots of new songs and hunted for hidden counselors.

One of the coolest parts of camp is definitely chapel time. The view from the keyboard is always interesting. From there I see campers singing, yawning, laughing, talking, NOT singing, sitting, falling asleep etc. Tonight was no different. Although - tonight, Pastor Jim went through the story of the Bible beginning at Adam and Eve and ending at the New Heaven & New Earth. Pastor Jim challenged the campers to make sure that they knew about their spiritual situation. Did they really know Jesus as the Savior of their life? Had they ever made that decision?

As I began playing "You Are My King" I looked out over the campers. Their voices rang clear and strong as the song began. I couldn't help but smile as I saw little boys closing their eyes and singing with all of their might. The sweet faces of little girls as they "prayed" as they sang. The intensity of a counselor worshipping before the Lord. The amazement of being part of something taking place before me that had eternal significance. Campers were walking towards the back ... getting ready to meet their counselor and do business with God.

The view from the keyboard is amazing and I am thankful to have the opportunity to serve in this way.

Tomorrow...the last day of camp. Obstacle course, the last chapel, and then...the Victory Circle.

Kimberly Mallory
Camp Gilead Program Director
www.campgilead.org (view daily pictures!)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

the jump

3rd Grade – The first time I saw the camp fire on Friday night I could only think about ONE thing. Could I jump over the Fire?... Its every boy's dream and yet still every man's dream to wonder if they could or not… it's not that we're too scared to jump it, but that we could get into HUGE trouble if we did… I am 21 now and as I stare right into the flames that once captured my attention at such a young age I still think about how I could pull this off… So many memories hide beneath the ashes of the tarded fire. Commitments and tears, but the ONE that comes to my mind… “THE JUMP”

Jeremy Costalez
Dirtboards/Program Staff

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

from melissa...counselor of cabin 5

Hi! My name is Melissa and I am the counselor of Cabin 5. This is my first year on staff at Camp Gilead and I have been having a blast so far this first week at camp!

Monday was the first day that many of these girls had ever met. But after only a few awkward conversations and silences, I was totally surprised by how friendly and outgoing each one of them are! It's only been 24 hours since I met them and I already feel like we know each other so well and I can talk to all of them without hesitation.

On our first day we did crafts and I had already noticed the girls' enthusiasm for art after they plastered our cabin door and walls with posters and pictures! The girls made little boxes at craft time that I told them to put their name on somewhere. When the boxes were dry, we put them in our cabin and I told them that they were for notes back and forth to each other (kind words only!)

It has been so much fun to write a little encouraging word here and there and also to receive them as well. This was a great activity that really helped to connect the girls and I'm positive that some of the relationships built here will continue on for years to come.

As the week continues I am excited to see what God has in store for all of us. He is working in each one of their hearts - even as you read this! Each day I pray that their relationship with God, as well as my own, will grow stronger and stronger.

Melissa Edwards
Counselor Cabin #5


Monday, June 22, 2009

...first day of summer camp...

ah...one of the best things about coming to the victory circle is the chance to SIT!

Our day started out a bit cold and wet...and early! Day campers arrived at Gilead around 7:30 AM and were welcomed by a very energized staff. Each car that drove onto the camp was greeted with cheers and a "tunnel" of staffers! The little day campers (Kindergarteners - 3rd graders) were probably a little bit nervous as to what this experience would entail. But it didn't take long before they were busy playing and doing activities!

Resident campers began to arrive around 10:30 and camp had officially BEGUN! The energy was high and the excitement was very contagious. Campers spent the day working hard at play...swimming, playing, doing crafts, slingshots, dirtboards and enjoying the life of being children. The classic camp game Tug of War tonight ignited team spirit and the cheering erupted!

Quite possibly the "heart" of Camp Gilead is our chapels. It is there where we sing, laugh, talk and learn. There's just something amazing about singing at camp! Our speaker this week is Jim Saunders from Connell WA. He challenged the campers tonight to think about who they were and what they were! From Genesis 1 we learn that God made us - and that he said that His creation was VERY GOOD.

TAPS just sounded - campers are sleeping (maybe?) we look forward to another good day tomorrow!

Kimberly Mallory
Camp Gilead Program Director

Sunday, June 21, 2009

twas the night before campers...

Twas the night before campers, and all through the camp
Many staffers were stirring, even though it was damp.

The name tags were hung by each bed with care
Knowing that campers soon would be there.

Tomorrows campers were nestled, all snug in their beds
While visions of Gilead, danced in their heads.

And Jack with his golf cart, and Josh with his too
Had just settled down for a cup of coffee or two.

The air was exciting, the energy high
Knowing what tomorrow would bring, practically lit up the sky.

When staff meeting was over, the counselors all fled
Off to their cabins, but not quite to bed.

In the Beginning, the theme is this year.
Dinos and Creation is what we shall hear.

God's Word is our Guide, His Spirit will lead.
For His voice we will listen, as the campers we will lead.

Please pray for us often, lift us up before Him.
We will work best in his power, even if things look dim.

Kimberly Mallory
Camp Gilead Program Director

Saturday, June 20, 2009

songs in the shower...


Let me first introduce myself. My name is Jared Hageman and I am a Senior at Oregon State University. This will be my first year as a counselor at camp. After a week of staff training, I am very excited to spend my summer here at camp. Where else can you wake up and sing “Every Move I Make” in the shower with your fellow counselors?

Our week so far has been extremely valuable. We have spent a lot of time in the Word, worshipping God, coming together as a team, and even learning about creation. I know many of us have been challenged in numerous ways through this intensive training and we are looking forward to our first group of campers on Monday.

Perhaps one of the most exciting things to see God doing so far is bringing us together as a team. Many of us did not know each other when this week started; all we had was a common goal to serve God at camp this summer. It is amazing how quickly God can bring people together when their desire is to bring glory to Him.

Last night, all of us male staff members made a commitment to raise the standard for male conduct here at camp. I personally have never been in an environment where guys my age talk about how to be men of God. Most of the time, we sink to the level of the least mature person in the group. This is just more evidence that God is working in us and preparing us for an amazing summer ahead!

Jared Hageman
Counselor - Cabin 14

Friday, June 19, 2009

donuts and some friendly competition...

So...it's not just all Creation Science, study and intense training here at Camp Gilead's Staff Training Week!

Yesterday the girls and the guys battled it out in some friendly competition for "bragging rights" in the Camp Gilead Staff Photo Scavenger Hunt.

The instructions were to capture photos of specific events and objectives as places like "the scrapbooking aisle at Michaels" for the boys and the "power tool section of Home Depot" for the girls. They also had to capture on film a transaction at some local grocery stores, and sing songs at a restaraunt or two.

They were to end at Krispy Kreme in Issaquah. First team to arrive would be the winner! The boys arrived first and were thrilled to know that they had beaten the girls. When the girls didn't arrive for a few minutes, the guys decided to take their cars across the street so that when the girls arrived, they would THINK they had won - while the guys would proudly "saunter" in. The plan worked. The girls were THRILLED that they had bested the boys ... and were dumbfounded when they watched them walk into the donut shop with cups and donuts already in hand.

It was all in good fun and everyone was able to console themselves with some fresh Krispy Kreme.

Kimberly Mallory
Camp Gilead Program Director

dinosaur name tags - from erika heins

For the last three years, Camp Gilead has been my place to serve, my place to come away from the routines of my home and place myself where my life—and, more importantly, Christ’s in me—can touch the lives of others.

Although one of our mottos is “camp is for the campers,” I have to say that camp has blessed not only campers but me. It’s given me the chance to see God work when I had no energy left. It’s given me glimpses of His power. And it’s burdened my heart for the spiritual needs of kids and their families—junior campers from broken and breaking homes, high schoolers struggling with the meaning and purpose of life, and junior highers wanting guidance but not wanting to ask for it.

This summer, I’m looking forward to working with a whole new group of kids—Camp Gilead’s youngest and newest additions to the camp family, the day campers. I just hope that every child comes away remembering that the God who spoke the world into existence loves them and wants a relationship with them. That’s the reason for every Excel schedule and laminated dinosaur name tag I’ll make this summer.

Erika Heins
Day Camp Director

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Lions and Beavers and Bears...oh my!

“Hi, my name is Pastor Jim and I’m a Bear/Labrador”. (No, this is not the blog for your recovery group.) This week at staff training we have taken a form of the DiSC personality test. The test uses animal names to describe the four different personality types.
When I say that I’m a Bear/Labrador that means is that I’m a “people person”. I tend to focus on relationships, rather than tasks. The other two personality types, Lion and Beaver, tend to focus on tasks rather than relationships.

The one thing that is amazing is how God brings people together from all over the country, each with their own personality types, to work at Camp Gilead for the summer. This year, the majority of the staff is brand new, but after only 4 days they are creating bonds and understanding their roles on the team. Lots of tasks are getting done and lots of relationships are being formed.

God gives each of us a certain personality, with inherent strengths and weaknesses. This allows us to shine in our strengths and learn how to grow by seeing the example of others. Our personality types are just another way for the Holy Spirit to show His power by giving us the ability to serve in unity.

Romans 15:5-7
5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, 6 so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

Please continue to pray for us as we finish out the week of staff training and look forward to our first week of Junior Camp.

Pastor Jim Mailloux is the Senior Pastor at First Baptist Church in Richland, WA. He has been the camp pastor for staff training for the last 5 years.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

i love camp food...

Welcome back to the Victory Circle. The fire is bright...the air is muggy...and there's a bit of a mist in the air. But what a week it has been so far!

True to form - it seems like we've been together for weeks already and really...we've only all been together since Sunday! We have been doing so much each day - work projects, sessions with Jim Mailloux studying our personality types and differences as well as a "lively" discussion regarding Absolutes, Convictions and Preferences. Tonight we had the privilege to hear from Randy Pollard regarding What's Really Behind Evolution. All of these sessions will only help us as we stock our toolboxes full of tools from God's Word that He will bring out at just the right time as we speak to a camper.

The friendships are already forming and we are becoming a TEAM!

We are super excited for Monday when campers arrive - but still have a lot to accomplish.

The mosquitoes are really bad though. We are all getting eaten alive.

Isn't it funny when you sit by a campfire how random your thoughts are sometimes? Your mind bounces from one thing to the next and when you stop to consider how you got from that first thought to the one you are thinking now...there were about 10 other things in between.

I wonder what is for breakfast tomorrow? This morning's breakfast was a sack breakfast after our 7:10 AM staff meeting - out around camp talking about God's Creation and recognizing his character in it. We learned/talked about water, ants, trees, using our 5 senses and how God uses all of those things to point to Himself.

Dinner tonight was incredible. Manicotti, Caesar salad, corn, garlic toast and banana chocolate chip cake. Yay for camp food!

See you next time around the Victory Circle! Come back soon!

Kimberly Mallory
Camp Gilead Program Director

Monday, June 15, 2009

coming full circle - by Craig Haskins

It was the summer of 2001 when I first set eyes on the summer program at Camp Gilead. I remember coming out with my two best friends Michael and Brandon. I remember being very nervous because I didn’t know any one beside my two friends and the worst part about it was that I wasn’t in their cabin!!! Even though I was separated from my buds I had a blast! God put me in the right place that summer and also for many summers to come.

This will be my fifth year being on staff here at Camp Gilead. Three years on the glorious high school staff and one year as a counselor. This year I will be on Program Staff as high school staff counselor. Through the years at camp I have gained friendships, made a million memories, cried many tears, washed a lot of dishes, and have had the opportunity to lead campers to Christ. I have experienced so many things here. One of my favorite memories around this victory circle was hearing a camper stand up and publicly thank Jack for starting the camp in 1948 even though he was born in the 50’s! Many funny and memorable stories have been created here and Gilead has been my summer home since I was a wee 16 years old.

Through my ministry at camp God has put on my heart to go into full time ministry with a focus on youth. Over the past three years I have had the opportunity working with youth in Renton. This summer God has brought me to the right place again. From an LIT in 2002 to high school staff counselor in 2009 God has truly brought me full circle.

Craig Haskins
High School Staff Counselor

hotdogs, smores and friends...

Summer Staff have officially arrived!

Yesterday at 4:00 pm - the counselors and support staff arrived at Camp Gilead! There's always such an energy on the first day of camp. A little bit of awkwardness and uncomfortability mixed with excitement and anticipation!

We started our week of staff training ... around the victory circle. We roasted hot dogs, made smores and the conversation flowed. When we initially got the group together, I challenged them to look around the group. These people would become their closest friends, one might become their spouse, others would be in their weddings - the relationships that were about to develop would be deep. (then I asked them if they wanted to take another look around the circle!) :)

It was a good first day. Pictures will be coming...

Do you remember your first day of summer staff training? I can remember thinking after the first night when I was a camp counselor..."these people are nice, but I already have my really close friends". Even after my first summer as a counselor, I thought that I had my "camp friends" and probably wouldn't become as close to these "new camp people" as last year's folks. I'm so glad that I was wrong! Each summer I developed unique and special friendships with those that I worked with. Ahh...the memories! :)

Kimberly Mallory
Camp Gilead Program Director

Saturday, June 13, 2009

from megan stephens - girls head counselor

5 days...community...leadership...training...creation...fun!!!

Program Staff training is now over - am I sad? No! I am very excited to meet the new faces coming tomorrow. Today I drove to the airport to pick up Lindley who flew in from Georgia. She is going to be a counselor and I am super excited to be part of her "Northwest Experience" and memories.

As a program staff we have planned and prepared with little exercise. I think our next two hour meeting needs to happen at the beach. :)

But nonetheless, I am so blessed to have been given this position and know that everyone showing up tomorrow is brought here by God. I am excited to be part of the summer staff 2009.

Megan Stephens
Girls Head Counselor

Thursday, June 11, 2009

from jason quey - guys head counselor

As I sit and look around the victory circle, I am flooded by the memories of years gone by: late night snacks, cleaning out the muck in the mini-golf pond, the sting of the gaga ball as it hits your face, the vibration of the BB gun as you fire off a round, the joyful glee of swimmers in the pool, and the deep bellow of the chapel bell as it echoes throughout the camp. These and many more memories will once again come alive to me as my fifth summer on staff approaches.

Having gone to Camp Gilead for all of my life as a camper, High School Staff and College staff, I am excited to now be on Program Staff. I remember looking up to past head counselors and wondering if I would ever get to do that; legends like Jonathan and Tim Counts, Noah Bannister, Jason Taylor, Jon Cramer, Simon Sandusky, and Jeremy Ashbee. Now here I am in that same position. In no way do I wish to replace these men of God, but instead I hope to become another great role model to all campers and staff.

Looking back I can barely remember the names of the people who spoke during a week of chapel, let alone what they preached on. I can’t honestly say what great spiritual lesson I learned every year of camp either. What I really can remember is every counselor that I had since my first junior camp in 1998 and what impact they had on my life. Sure, in many ways these guys were not perfect, however God chose to use all of them in many different ways to shape me to be who I am today.

To each person reading this, campers both young and old, staff members of past and the present, and to anyone else, I wish for you to reflect on the purpose statement that we have chosen for this coming summer – Experiencing Creation and Community to Evangelize and Disciple.

Many of you have been saved at Camp Gilead and still more have grown to become more Christ-like after a week of camp. No matter where you are in life there are people who look up to you and will be forever changed by the things that you do – for better or for worse. Don’t let this paralyze you into inaction for fear that you will mess up. Instead, focus on ways to be a great godly example to those around you as they follow in your footsteps. Evangelism and discipleship isn’t just a “camp thing” but something that we all must daily live. Who knows? Perhaps that annoying little kid that follows you will become the next head counselor.

2 Timothy 2:1-2
You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.

Jason Quey
2009 Guys Head Counselor

casting a vision

"Where there is no vision, the people perish..." Proverbs 29:18

Knowing the what and the why is SO important! * WHAT am I doing and WHY AM I doing it?

Yesterday we had the privilege of having Paul Hill, Executive Pastor at Silverdale Baptist Church come and share to our Program Staff. Paul spend many years as the Program Director at Island Lake Camp in Poulsbo WA. He drew from his experiences working with people at camp as well as in church ministry to challenge us as a team to work together and with others in a godly and productive way.

He challenged us to all buy into the vision of Camp Gilead this summer. So - I took a few words and concepts that I wanted to communicate in every aspect of our summer. We took those words and put them into a sentence that will dictate everything we do this summer. It's awesome to have a starting point - and know that if the activity, event or plan doesn't align with our vision - then maybe it needs to go. Sometimes knowing your vision is more about knowing what to say NO to than what to say YES to!

Camp Gilead 2009
"Experiencing Creation and Community to Evangelize and Disciple."

Kimberly Mallory - Program Director

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

it's just camp...

Camp People, Camp Songs, Camp Jokes, Camp Culture...

Today we had our first day of training of our Program Staff for the summer. This is an amazing group - together they have 26 summers of experience under their belt!

Camp really is amazing. It brings people together like no other place can. These seven individuals probably wouldn't hang out on a daily basis in the "outside" world ... but we have had such a great time together today, planning, preparing, brainstorming, laughing, eating and talking camp! So much to plan and prepare for...the rest of the staff arrives on Sunday.

We sat tonight and sang together - as the frogs croaked and the crickets chirped - we lifted OUR voices to the LORD! What is it about singing songs at camp? There is just something special that brings you to the feet of Jesus. Maybe it is the simplicity of it all. No powerpoint. No microphones...just voices and the strumming guitar.

There is a Christian School group here having an all school retreat. So - even amidst the quiet of the fire - there are voices to be heard...laughing and playing...enjoying the outdoors. Experiencing camp. Experiencing play. Experiencing the joys of this life. Experiencing GOD!

Kimberly Mallory - Program Director

Monday, June 8, 2009

Welcome to our Blog!

Can you smell it? Can you hear it? It's the crackling fire - the smoke is rising up to the trees, the sky is clear, the stars are bright! A guitar or two is strumming and the air is filled with the sounds of laughing children. I love sitting here in the Victory Circle. If only these trees could talk - the stories they would tell!

They might tell of 61 years of children and adults sitting under their branches, roasting marshmallows with sticky fingers. Or maybe they would speak of the tears that were shed as a young boy shared of a rough home life he would be returning to...but with a newfound faith in Jesus Christ. If only trees could speak...

Oh but they DO!

They speak of the glory of God! Their trunks point to their Creator and their branches reach out and give HIM the glory!

Here at the Victory Circle - we want to share with you what God is doing here at Camp Gilead. The Victory Circle has always been a place of reflection. Reflections inward as well as outward.

We will post as much as we can, with a few pictures here and there. More pictures can always be found on our website: www.campgilead.org

Staff begin to arrive tomorrow! Hard to believe that it's here already! We will have a few program staff members that will begin to arrive for training and preparation. These training times are so valuable and important to the cohesiveness of our staff. We don't just learn about "boating and bb guns" but instead we learn about leadership, and serving, photography and personalities. Guest speakers these next few weeks of training include: Paul Hill, Molly Nickles, Randal Pollard, Jim Mailloux and Tom Ruhlman.

Program Staff 2009 Members:
Erika Heins - Day Camp Director
Megan Stephens - Program Staff
Jason Quey - Program Staff
Jeremy Costalez - Progam Staff
Craig Haskins - Guys High School Staff Leader
Megan Franklin - Girls High School Staff Leader

The Victory Circle is always open. It's never locked up and we'll keep the logs on the fire as long as you'd like to sit. Meet us here again and we'll share with you some of the victories, memories and daily happenings that take place on these blessed 27 acres in Carnation WA.

Kimberly Mallory, Program Director